hello. you're watching bbc world news. i'm adnan nawaz. our top story this hour: donald trump denies he might be vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. the incoming president suggested us intelligence agencies may have been behind the leaking of compromising material — a claim denied by america's spy chief. welcome to the programme. our other main stories this hour: volkswagen agrees to plead guilty to criminal charges in the us and to pay one of the biggest fines ever for disguising emissions from its diesel cars. and an island divided — as international talks take place to end the partition of cyprus — we'll see what the future may hold through the eyes of young cypriots. i'm sally bundock. in business, from boardroom chief to commander in chief. trump hands control of his business empire to his sons. but ethical questions will remain for america's richest ever president. plus — "i apologize to the south korean people".
samsung boss jay y lee is questioned in a growing corruption scandal donald trump has angrily denied suggestions he may be vulnerable to blackmail by russia. the week before he enters the white house as the 45th president of the united states, mr trump held his first news conference in six months. in it, he admitted for the first time that he thought it was russia who had hacked the presidential campaign, and he also suggested us intelligence agencies may have leaked an unsubstantiated report that suggests russia has compromising information about him. he called the report "fake". laura bicker reports. donald trump is not a huge fan of the press call. but he had a message to send to the media and us
intelligence agencies. he believes the leaked unsubstantiated allegations that his election team couuded allegations that his election team colluded with russia. it is all fake news. it is phoney stuff it did not happen. there are also claims that russian spies have compiled material to blackmail mr trump including salacious videos of his private life. does anyone really believe that story? i really am quite a german folk. the bbc understands that the memo is an mr trump were compiled by a former member of mi6, christopher steel. the director of national intelligence has now called the president—elect. he said the lea k the president—elect. he said the leak did not come from within us intelligence and they have not made anyjudgement that intelligence and they have not made any judgement that the information is reliable. as donald trump move the media towards his business dealings he confirmed he was handing total control of his empire to his two suns. these papers are just some
of the many documents i have signed at turning over complete and total control to my suns. that is proving troublesome as well. the ethics committee has now said his plan does not meet past presidential standards. this performance was a typically eccentric and bombastic piece of political theatre which is supporters will love but it did little to calm the swell of controversies which surround this president—elect. live now to washington, and the bbc‘s laura bicker. laura, he answered the question he way he wanted to, so he is a good position to a politician that way. and russia is through much of the centre about this unsubstantiated report. also, he sang for the first time that he thought it was probably russia that hacked the presidential campaign. that is correct. he acknowledged that it was perhaps russia that was behind the hacking but he has not acknowledged the
motive, that it was russia trying to influence the outcome of the election and help him win the white house. when it comes to some of the more salacious claims, most of them are unverifiable but certainly the bbc had this document in october and decided not to publish. one of the reasons we reported now is because it was deemed important enough to put into the dos year of evidence given to the president and the president—elect on that russian hacking last week. now the latest development we have is that the director of national intelligence has now telephoned donald trump. let's face it, it has been a fractured relationship between the intelligence committee and the president—elect over the last few weeks. as he has constantly dismissed evidence that russia was behind the hacking and dismissed the motive. tonight, there is one thing that both men agree upon— that is
that both men agree upon— that is that in a statementjames clapper went on to say that they both believe these links are not good for national security in the united states and at the end he acknowledged that the two men will work together in the administration will work together. however, he denied that the us intelligence agencies were behind any of these lea ks to agencies were behind any of these leaks to the press. the bbc understands that the man who compiled a dossier of evidence was a man called christopher steele who was actually british mi6 intelligence. he was compiling this report on behalf, initially, drum's opponentjeb bush and then latterly for a anonymous democratic opponent. he was working for an agency to compile information which was an donald trump for his opponents. so now we believe, certainly, and understand, that the intelligence
that went to the president—elect and president obama contained this information. but james clapper said tonight he has made nojudgement on whether or not this information is credible. however, he does say that it was given to the president and the president—elect to give them all the president—elect to give them all the information so that they could make a judgement call. my wife wa nted make a judgement call. my wife wanted to know if there was a president ever as rich as donald trump. isaid president ever as rich as donald trump. i said i don't think so, i can't think of anybody. there has not been a rockefeller probably probably think it is the richest in history. at the same time it is difficult to assess his wealth because a lot of it is under wraps. but probably, yes. the wealthiest man in the white house as it were. and of course all that is being discussed so far, you have heard
about the row, this is even threatened to overshadow the controversy about his business dealings and concerns he is facing a major conflict of interest what is in the white house. on wednesday he said he'd hold onto his business empire but hand "complete control" to his two eldest sons, donald junior and eric. so will it be enough to silence the critics? let's show you some of the details. the trump organization is not listed on the stock market so it doesn't publish financial information. but according to private company research firm privco — the real estate, hotel and leisure empire made revenues of $9.5 billion in 2014. according to bloomberg, as well as billions in assets the organisation has some $600 million of debt owed to scores of financial institutions. another potential source of conflict. it employs an estimated 22,000 people in more than 20 countries, raising questions over foreign policy. but mr trump's lawyer says "no new foreign deals will be made
whatsoever" while he is president. she says over 30 pending deals have been cancelled — instantly losing the family millions of dollars. and an ethics advisor will be appointed to approve all dealings that might raise conflict of interest concerns or be seen to exploit the office of the presidency. many critics though think the plan doesn't go nearly far enough. we will be speaking to an expert in 20 minutes' time. we are also in south korea where technology giant samsung has been battling to rebuild its reputation after its top of the range phone had to be withdrawn following a spate of battery fires. in the last few hours, a new setback for the firm, as boss jay y lee was called in for questioning in a widening corruption investigation that has already seen the president park gyeun—hye impeached.
mr lee is seen as the heir apparent of the firm, which he has been running since his father lee kun—hee had a heart attack two years ago. investigators want to know if the company gave millions of dollars to a friend of the south korean president in return for approving a merger. don't forget you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter, i'm @ sally bundock bbc. the german carmaker volkswagen has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges in the united states, for using illegal software to disguise the level of emissions produced by its diesel powered cars. it's also agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines. six employees have been indicted, including one arrested just last week. sarah corker reports. it's been dubbed the dieselgate, the world's second biggest carmaker reading environmental tests
for diesel emissions and now volkswagen will pay a heavy price for what us authorities have described as a 10—year conspiracy. volkswagen is pleading guilty to three felonies, conspiracy to defraud the united states, to commit wire fraud and to violate the clean air act. obstruction of justice and importation of goods by false statements. the fine of $4.3 billion is the biggest ever levied by the us government on a carmaker. vw has already agreed a $15 billion civil settlement with car owners and environmental authorities and worldwide, 11 million vehicles are involved in this scandal. the us attorney general said vw lied to cover up its actions. hundreds of thousands of cars that volkswagen sold in the united states were pumping illegal levels of nitrogen oxides into our atmosphere. up to 40 times more than the amounts
permitted under federal law. now, what's more, these vehicles were equipped with software that masked the true amount of the pollutants the cars released. and it looks as though the us regulators are far from finished. six executives have been formally charged with conspiracy. translation: if it does come out that management was informed about aspects of dieselgate earlier than they have so far admitted then we have to assume that lawsuits will be filed, not just by shareholders but also by the parent company who would likely make the management responsible for recalls. volkswagen says it deeply regrets the behaviour that led to this scandal, but there's still a turbulent road ahead as the company faces potentially damaging lawsuits in europe. sarah corker, bbc news. the first of 3000 american tubes
have started arriving in poland to be deployed along the eastern frontier. this is the biggest such operation by the us since the cold war ended. it is part of attempts by president obama to assure allies about perceived russian aggression. norway's attorney general has told a hearing that the mass murderer, anders breivik, has to be kept in isolation in prison, to stop him spreading far—right ideology and inspiring more attacks. the state is appealing against a lower court ruling that keeping him in isolation breaches his rights. italy's prime minister is recovering from heart surgery in a rome hospital. paolo gentiloni fell ill on his return from a meeting with the french president in paris. his office says he's been awake and in touch by phone. a planned meeting with the british prime minister this thursday has been postponed. a particularly cold spell of winter weather in greece has left thousands of homeless refugees and migrants at risk. aid agencies warn many people
are at risk of freezing to death with night—time temperatures dropping below minus 20 degrees celsius in some areas. in some camps, shelter is in the form of tents — and the un refugee agency is urging migrants stranded on the greek islands to be quickly transferred to the mainland or other european countries. through difficult conditions, our reporter howard johnson has attempted to drive to thessaloniki in northern greece, where some refugee camps have been covered with snow. here's a video diary of his journey. we set off from athens early in the morning with a plan of drying to a refugee camp in the north of grief that has been hard—hit by the winter weather. is the road became increasingly difficult to drive on we opted for a refugee camp closer
to us in the historic town of thermopylae. that is where king leonidas took on xerxes of the persian empire. we mr turned to the camp but met two men on the road who pointed us in the right direction. we have picked up these two men who we re we have picked up these two men who were walking down the street. they are both from kurdistan. they are taking us to the camp which is just a couple of 100 metres in front of us a couple of 100 metres in front of us here. inside the camp i met mainly syrian refugees. many making the most of the smelly weather. —— smelly —— snowy weather. we did not have
papers to record inside the camp one man came out on the terms that we protect as you can see, the snow here is around ten inches thick on the ground and it is still falling. that means families will have to stay here for the time being to wait for this weather pattern to pass before they can carry on theirjourneys to their final destinations. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: more than 40 years after cyprus was partitioned — historic peace talks are under way to try to reunify the mediterranean island. day one of operation desert storm to force the iraqis out of kuwait
has seen the most intense air attacks since the second world war. tobacco is america's oldest industry, and it's one of its biggest, but the industry is nervous of this report. this may tend to make people want to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts of kobe were simply demolished as buildings crashed into one another. this woman said she'd been given no help and no advice by the authorities. she stood outside the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black children in south africa have taken advantage of laws, passed by the country's new multiracial government, and enrolled at formerly white schools. tonight sees the 9,610th performance of her long—running play, the mousetrap. when they heard about her death today, the management considered whether to cancel tonight's performance, but agatha christie would have been the last person to want such a thing. this is bbc world news.
i'm adnan nawaz. the latest headlines: donald trump has angrily dismissed claims that russia has compromising material on him and has suggested us intelligence agencies may have leaked the allegations. volkswagen agrees to plead guilty to criminal charges in the us let's get more on the preparations for the trump presidency. almost overshadowed by all the discussion about allegations of personal scandal is the question of how mr trump should deal with his huge business empire. on wednesday, he said he'd hold onto it, but hand complete control to his two eldest sons, donald junior and eric. scott amey is from project on government oversight, an independent watchdog that's been critical of mr trump's plans to avoid conflicts of interest during his presidency. mr amey, are you still critical and is your organisation still critical? yes masseur. what donald trump laid out today is... it sounds very good,
he hit a lot of the key buzzwords, isolating himself from his business operations and he won't know anything that happens there unless he reads it in the newspaper and he laid out a plan with about seven specific things and activities that they're going to do to isolate him from the business operations, as well as not take on new foreign operations, have a new ethics officer at the trump organisation that will help them avoid any conflict of interest. but essentially this is what he said he was going to do before, and that is hand over the management of his business to his children but he would keep an ownership interest, which still presents multiple conflicts of interest after he is sworn into office onjanuary the 20th here in the states. did he say anything in his new plans that would be legally binding, or is it all
dependent on his promise that he will act in a certain way? that's a great question and its... donald trump started out when he talked about his conflicts of interest, he said he is the president and those laws don't apply to me, his lawyers said the same thing but that is shortsighted and incorrect. there are numerous conflict of interest and ethics laws that apply to the president and he will have to abide by those. in essence you boiled it down, he ended up saying in essence promises that he will isolate himself and not have any activities with the business and any discussions with his sons, and he even said that he will volunteer to follow all these different rules that don't apply to him but he will or volunteer to abide by them and the kicker was that here we have something called a clause in our constitution, and he said he would voluntarily hand over any profits from his hotels that come from foreign governments that would not
be in violation of our constitution. asi be in violation of our constitution. as i said earlier, it all sounds great but in the long—running it is promises, promises and in essence it is the fox governing the hen house. it boils down to transparency, which relates to something he spoke about in the news conference regarding his tax returns, will or will he not show them? apparently it's being reported that the reporters in that room at trump plaza yesterday weren't able to examine the documents he had laid out on the table, and that also would have helped transparency. it's also whatever plan he comes up with, is he going to put it on paper and submit it to the office for government ethics and review for confirmation? we have had questions about his tax returns, donald trump did file a financial disclosure reform two form a couple of years ago so that did give some
indications into his business empire and position he holds and his assets and position he holds and his assets and liabilities. —— disclosure form. we did get an insight but not a com plete we did get an insight but not a complete view of where all his business operations lie and how much money he has and how much he owns. scott amey, thank you for coming on. thank you. the afghan taliban has released a video of two professors kidnapped in august, in which they plead for donald trump to negotiate their release. it's the first time the australian, timothy weeks, here on the left, and the american, kevin king, have been seen since they were abducted as they left work at the american university in kabul. hywel griffith has more sydney. we see both men really distraught, weeping at stages as they describe how they were abducted and how they have been kept, they seemed in relatively good condition but making it clear, they say, that if no negotiation or exchange takes place soon they are sure they will die.
they will have been under extreme duress when this was recorded and they said the video is being recorded onjanuary the first, a week and a half ago. clearly the impact is meant to be felt in australia and the us. as far as we know no negotiations have taken place. the men implore theirfamilies to put pressure on the authorities to do so, again underlying what they say will be their fate if no prisoner exchange takes place with taliban prisoners. talks will continue in geneva later on thursday aimed at ending decades of stalemate in a divided cyprus. the goal is to create a two—zone federation. the island has been divided for more than 40 years, since turkish troops invaded in response to a coup on the island seeking union with greece. anyone born after that time has only ever known it to be split between the self—proclaimed turkish republic of northern cyprus and the southern greek part. we've been asking younger people from both sides on the island
what they think of the prospect of a deal. iam28 i am 28 years old, i am a greek cypriot. i am a turkish cypriot. you enter an agreement on solving the cyprus problem because it's a problem that's been going on for at least 50 years now and it's a problem that has been dividing cyprus. for me the cyprus problem is like working on a dark road, you cannot see your way, you cannot see what's waiting for you at the end of the road. we need to solve this problem in order to lighten our road and walk this road together with greek cypriots. in every single problem we have in this country, i find that the root of the problem is the cyprus problem. we cannot solve our unemployment issue without solving the cyprus issue. the common obstacles, one of the biggest problems is the different take each community has on history and the
pain that each community has felt from history and from the different events that have marked cypriot history. what turkish or creates one is equal participation, effective participation which means that having political equality, having a rotational presidency. one of the biggest obstacles is there's no trust in turkey in terms of the turkish army, the greek cypriots would like to see the turkish army leave completely, nor would they accept that turkey would have any kind of military or other sorts of guarantees over the future of cyprus. we need to find a way for both communities to feel secure because if one security is the insecurity of the other then it creates problems. for greek cypriots, an expression ofjustice would be the ability to go back to the homes they used to live in and the homes they used to live in and the villages and cities they used to live in before 1974. in order to
create our future we need to find a solution to this problem. i really feel that hope this time will get us there. events that happened 50 years ago is still carry very very deep and heavy chrome is on both sides, and heavy chrome is on both sides, and for me this shows that there is and for me this shows that there is a mentality of peace, it's just a way of how we are going to be able to co nstru ct way of how we are going to be able to construct it and if we are able to construct it and if we are able to do this then i think we will have a very bright future. and before we go, let us take you to austria and a ski resort with a difference. this miniature resort is the creation of a 17—year—old called kevin pobatschnig, and kevin built it in his parent's backyard, with only a little bit of help from them. everything in it is around one thirtieth the size of real life. it's a fair bet he has a promising career ahead in engineering. hello.
you may have seen some wintry fair in the last day or two but that prospect is more widespread across britain in the next couple of days. a cold, blowy start to the day in the northern half of the british isles but something slightly different coming from the south—west, mild, moist atlantic air. don't be fooled by the dry start in the south—east, things will change markedly here and through the day further concerns for those on the move about the strength of the wind and there will be snow and notjust where we've already seen it because we're bringing in that mild, moist air into an atmosphere that's really quite cold i suspect eventually through the day across some parts of southern britain we will see a conversion of some of this rain into snow. first up you may think what's all the fuss is about, "i thought there was going to be loads of snow?" it will be this mild air first of all that has to drag the moisture in from the atlantic and run it into that cold air and once that process really gets going, and it may be well into the afternoon before you see it, eventually there will be some snowfall
tracking its way ever further towards the east, some of it getting to and lying to lower levels and all the while in the northern half of the british isles it's that cold, blustery sort of day again with frequent snow showers, blizzards across higher ground so not a day for the mountains by any means at all! that's what the thermometers will say, this is how cold it will feel especially across northern parts given the strength of the wind here. we have real concerns for the evening rush that some of the snow, as i say, could well lie to low levels across east anglia, the south—east midlands and the south—east and once it's away underneath clearing skies, the temperatures will fall and ice could become an issue for a time until we bring potentially another belt of snow down to the northern half of the british isles. if you're on the move first thing on friday morning it could be a real fest of frost and ice and for some, further snowfall. notjust across northern britain,
this feature could drag that snow prospect in east anglia, these midlands and parts of the south—east during friday rush hour but once it's away there is a brighterfresher prospect with some sunshine, but it does nothing for the feel of the day. this is bbc world news, the headlines: donald trump has angrily denied suggestions he may be vulnerable to blackmail by russia. the director of national intelligence denies his organisation has leaked any allegations against mrtrump. the week before he enters the white house as the 45th president of the united states, mr trump has held his first news conference in six months. the german carmaker volkswagen has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges in the us, for using illegal software to disguise the level of emissions from its diesel cars. it has also agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines. a cold snap in greece has left thousands of homeless refugees